College Council

At its beginning as Nueva Esperanza Center for Higher Education, Rev. Luis Cortes and President David Black formed an advisory body designed to develop the partnership with both institutions' best interests in mind. The College Council has been a policymaking and guiding hand that over the years has led the development of Esperanza College from its initial stages as a program to becoming an established branch campus of Eastern University. Over the years the Council has hired deans who could move this vision forward. In addition, Rev. Danny Cortes has served as Chairman of the Council and is currently Academic Chair of the Eastern University Board of Trustees.


Rev. Danny Cortes

Executive Vice President and Chief of Staff of Esperanza

Reverend Danny Cortés is the Executive Vice President and Chief of Staff at Esperanza, overseeing all educational institutions, workforce development programs, and some administrative function. Over more than a decade at Esperanza, he has also managed the National Programs Department and served as the Chief Administrator at Esperanza Academy. Prior to joining Esperanza’s leadership, he was a program officer at The Pew Charitable Trusts for 10 years. Rev. Cortés has also served as pastor of the First Spanish Baptist Church of Philadelphia. He holds a Master’s degree in divinity from Eastern Baptist Theological Seminary.


Rev. Luis Cortes

President of Esperanza

The Reverend Luis Cortés, Jr. and the Hispanic Clergy of Philadelphia and Vicinity founded Esperanza in 1987.  Rev. Cortés has three honorary doctorates, a Master’s degree in divinity from Union Theological Seminary, and a Master’s degree in economic development from Southern New Hampshire University. He has served on many boards, including currently the Cancer Treatment Centers of America Eastern Regional Medical Center and the Federal Home Loan Bank of Pittsburgh.  Rev. Cortés has been on advisory committees to Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama and was featured as one of Time magazine’s “25 Most Influential Evangelicals” in 2005.  Rev. Cortés is the author of several books and has won numerous awards for his work.


Bill Hopkins, CCM

Senior Vice President – Finance (Esperanza)

Bill is responsible for all financial and accounting functions that support the operations of Esperanza. He has more than thirty years of financial management experience in private, public and non-profit industries. Prior to joining Esperanza in January of 2012, Bill spent twelve years as the Chief Financial Officer, Director of Assurance, and Treasurer of two international non-profit organizations. Prior to that, he spent ten years with the Commonwealth of Virginia Department of the Treasury and ten years in commercial banking. Bill is a native of Philadelphia and a graduate of the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown where he earned his Bachelor’s degree in Business/Economics.


Dr. Robert Duffett

Dr. Robert G. Duffett, President of Eastern University, has served in a variety of leadership roles in Christian higher education. As president of Dakota Wesleyan University, Dr. Duffett achieved national prominence for establishing the George McGovern Library, Museum, and Center for Leadership and Public Service. Dr. Duffett served as Provost and Academic Dean at Ottawa University, and as Director of Doctoral Studies at Northern Baptist Theological Seminary. Dr. Duffett attained his Master of Divinity degree in Greek and Hebrew from Bethel Theological Seminary, his Master of Theology degree in theology and communication from Princeton Theological Seminary, and his PhD in organizational theory/ management and historical theology from the University of Iowa.


Dr. Tom Ridington

Dr. Tom Ridington is the Executive Vice President for University Relations and New Ventures/Special Assistant to the President of Eastern University. Dr. Ridington has previously contributed to Eastern University as Senior Vice President and Vice President for Development, and he has directed University advancement programs. He serves as institutional partnership liaison with Esperanza College and Openseminary. Dr. Ridington completed his PhD at the University of Stellenbosch near Cape Town, South Africa. He earned his MAR from Palmer Theological Seminary and his BA from Eastern University. He has consulted with numerous nonprofits and NGOs in fundraising, strategic planning, and governance. He also helped develop several nonprofit organizations dedicated to deriving solutions to hunger, housing, and urban development.


Dr. Kenton Sparks

Dr. Kenton Sparks serves as Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs at Eastern University, providing leadership for the university’s academic, student affairs, athletics, marketing, and enrollment offices. He has previously served as a professor of Biblical Studies, Vice President for Marketing & Enrollment, Special Assistant to the President, and Assistant Provost. As Professor of Biblical Studies at Eastern, he has written books and numerous articles and has served as the regional president for the Society of Biblical Literature. Sparks is an ordained pastor and served on the pastoral staff for a church in Raleigh, NC. Dr. Sparks earned his Master's degree in Hebrew Bible, his Master's in Business Administration, and his Doctor of Philosophy in Religious Studies.


Rev. Dr. Emilio Marrero

Former Vice President of National Programs (Esperanza)

Rev. Dr. Emilio Marrero, Jr. serves as Senior Pastor of Berachah Church in Cheltenham, PA where he leads the team towards growing a multicultural church committed to meeting the needs of the community. He holds a Doctor of Ministry from Claremont School of Theology and a Masters of Divinity from Eastern Baptist Theological Seminary. Rev. Marrero served thirty-two years in the military and was responsible for saving the ancient site of Babylon in Al Hillal, Iraq from being looted and stripped of treasures. Following the Navy he served four years as the Vice-President of National Programs for Esperanza. He oversaw national outreach; managed multiple grants and projects impacting the Hispanic community in partnership with local churches and agencies in their communities.